Wednesday, December 9, 2009

2009 Campaign PR ( 6/12):Maaruvom, Maatruvom:Serndhu Sidhika oru sandarpam

Chennai, December 6: Prajnya, a Chennai-based centre for research, networking and public education, organised a public forum ‘Maaruvom, Maatruvom’ as part of their 16 Days Campaign against Gender Violence here on Sunday.

The forum, conceptualised in partnership with Kalki, was moderated by poet and political activist Thamizhachi Thangapandian. Speakers discussed a range of issues including marital equations leading to household violence, the need to educate and sensitise children from a young age, traditional gender roles and the adverse effects of substance abuse on a marriage.

“Students should be given legal literacy,” said Prof. Bharathi, Asst. Prof. of History at Pachayappa's College. Advocate Sumathi highlighted the difficulties that emotional violence imposed on women. “A woman does not find a refuge even in her maternal home,” she pointed out. In a patriarchal setup, violence is accepted as part of the marriage.

The forum also discussed the role of media in portraying women and gender violence. “Women are not women's enemies; society indoctrinates us to think so,” said poet and activist Thilakabama. R. Natraj IPS insisted on the need to understand domestic violence from a judicial perspective. Filmmaker Vasanth, who recently made ‘Satham Podhadey’ on domestic violence, spoke about underlying attitudes of violence being indicative of masculinity and expressed the need for gender violence to be made a matter of shame.

Seetha Ravi, Editor of Kalki, who was also present, said gender violence was as important a problem as poverty or illiteracy. The forum discussed practical solutions to gender violence on individual, familial and societal levels. “We must also think beyond the domestic situation to others. Women's rights extend beyond mainstream domestic situations and domestic violence,” said Thamizhachi.

Other speakers included script writer Bhaskar Shakthi, psychiatrist Dr. Rudhran, Bharathi Chandramouli, and student Rizwana Bhanu.

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